Germany Flies Free of Bird Flu

GERMANY - Last night, to the relief of many, the German government announced that the country was entirely free of bird flu. The announcement comes after three months without any discovery of the deadly H5N1 strain in wild birds or in commercial poultry.
calendar icon 26 March 2008
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According to German Agriculture Ministry, the last outbreak of bird flu was in poultry in rural areas west of Berlin back in December.

Germany had its first brush with bird flu in February 2006.

The three-month rule is applied by the World Organization for Animal Health OIE.

Gerd Mueller, state secretary at the Agriculture Ministry, who has just returned from a trip to the United Arab Emirates, said the Gulf nation had told him it would accept imports of German poultry meat and beef.

The ministry said Germany, which has lost beef exports because of cases of mad cow disease in cattle, was likely to be upgraded to the status of a country with a "controlled" exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Germany has only had one confirmed new BSE case this year.

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